A Travellerspoint blog

Perfect Peru

sunny 17 °C
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It´s been a month since our last entry and soo much has happened. We´ve been predominently in and around Peru, racing down daunting sand dunes, trekking in amongst snow capped mountains, visiting awesome sites like Macchu Picchu and Ballestas islands (poor mans Gallapagos islands) and Lake Titicaca.

Where do we start???

How would we have known Peru had so much diversity - when we thought of Peru we obviously thought Macchu Picchu, Nazca lines and lake titicaca on the way to Bolivia - which we saw along with so much more.

We started in Lima, which was pretty uninspiring due to a constant grey mist which hangs over the city for 8 months of the year. This gives London a run for its money! needless to say we high tailed it outta there and booked onto a tour going South to see the famous Nazca lines.

We ended up having such a wicked time - not only did we fly over the famous nazca lines, which still have Dee and I second guessing why they were made and for what reason (we obviously have plenty of theories but we´ll save it for when we bring out our bestselling book - Mysteries of South America sorted by D&D!), but we also managed to go on a dessert safari, sand board down some bloody impressive dunes, visit the Ballestas islands (poor mans gallapogas) to see sea lions, penguins, beautiful rock formations and caves, birds and plenty of bird shit!

With the wind in our sails we headed off to the legendary little backpacker town of Cusco to try get to see the famous Inca city of macchu picchu. Blind luck struck us again as we arrived during 1 of the biggest festivals of the year (Inti Raymi - festival of the sun), so things were happening and the town was a buzz. We managed to book into some sweet accommodation at a convent! This meant lovely clean rooms, tranquil atmosphere and best of all hot water - although I do confess 1 of the old nuns took a fancy to me and made me sit down next to her on the bench and hold her hand while she muttered sweet nothings in my ear.

Alright, moving on - we managed to book onto an alternative inca trail called Salkantay trail as the main renowned inca trail was fully booked (thanks Clive and Jayne!). While we were waiting for our start date we found the worlds highest irish pub and the rest was a bit of a blur!

The Salkantay trail was awesome - 4 days/80km of hectic hiking through ravines and valleys, past glacial mountains and through rainforests, ending up on the last night at the little backpacker town of Aguas Calientes at the foot of Macchu Picchu mountain. This allowed us to wake up before the crack of dawn to hike up the steepest path in the world to the Macchu Picchu ruins 500m above. Once our eyes had stopped watering, we could reel our calves again and breathing had resumed to normality we realised that we were infact shrouded in a thick cloud so couldn´t see the legendary sunrise over macchu picchu. Still not thinking clearly from over exertion we decided to take the opportunity to climb the nearby mountain overlooking Macchu Picchu called Winay Waynah. This path made the first 1 seem like childs play! The good news is somewhere in our unconscious state while crawling up the mountain it started clearing and the most beautiful birds eyeview of Macchu Picchu was revealed below us. We got our picture postcard of Macchu Picchu and rolled back into Aguas Calientes.

After Macchu Picchu we headed to lake titicaca where we visited these communities that live on these floating islands made out of reeds. Bad neighbourly relations make for some pretty interesting times as if you have a disagreement you just unhook your island from the anchor point and float downwind to some other spot. Better still, we were told, if you dislike your fellow islanders you can always just cut the island in half and quite litterally go your separate ways! (Ok - maybe we were being spun a story there but a good one nonetheless!)

We stayed with a local family for a night on another 1 of lake titcaca´s natural islands (Amantineen) which was quite a humbling experience and a highlight of our trip.

Took some great photos with our not so great disposable camera and headed onward with our dodgy stomachs into Bolivia...
not the best place in the world to arrive with an already dodgy stomach!!!

Posted by doubledrtw 10:06 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

The Gringo´s head north

Vitoria, Brazil

sunny 28 °C
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The taxi driver looked in his review mirror, glaring at us as our stifled giggles grew into loud snorts when Celine Dion finished the last few notes of her song.

Its just that¨The worlds greatest Divas¨CD seemed inappropriate for someone whose driving skills were similar to someone off Prison Break. Perhaps it was part of his anger therapy.

Buckled over from the weight of our ever growing backpacks and from the laughter, it was obvious for Ilea to spot the gringos in the crowd.

Ileia is the sister of Ilce from Rio, whose friend the paster, is staying in Annes mums house in Welkom!! Complicated ??? Try explaining that in Portuguese!!

But what a little ripper she was. She welcomed us into her home, and soon enough ushered us out of the door to meet some of her mates who could speak English.

After sampling the local Moqueco (fish stew) we found ourselves invited to the beach the next day.. got to love it when life takes care of itself.

Guarapari is an awesome little coastal village just south of Vitoria, and at long last we got some sun. The beach was amazing, but what a place to people watch.

To Drews delight, the girls hardly wear a thing!! One ¨Post It¨ on the front, one on the back, and one over each boobin seemed to be all the kit that was required. Tie together with a piece of string and Bobs your uncle!! And the girls really work it!! Even with all their shapes and sizes.. its brilliant!

We made our way to a mates grandparents house where we were blown over and given the biggest family welcome ever!!

You have to love Brazilian familys.. 6 kids on this farm raised singlehandedly by their mum (after the dad passed away at a young age). As we arrived, the brothers / husbands were all mucking in doing alterations to the old farm house, while the sisters / wives looked on drinking wine and chirping them.

We caused such a commotion, that it took about 20 minutes for them to figure out our names... they couldnt seem to get it. So they settled for Andreas and Joanna. Fine by us!!

Just as we thought all would settle down, the 10 year old hyperactive cousin arrived flung down her bicycle and before I knew it she had me by the hand dragging me to the kitchen to help make Brigadero - a little Brazilian sweety treat made from condensed milk.

The little girl was like a tasmanian devil and when she wasnt on Drews shoulders or getting a piggy back from me, she was hanging upside down from a Mango Tree, or hurdling over broken farm gates.. pretty intense

Ilea is a pretty religeous girlie, so she took us to her church with her, and roped people out of the congregation to translate the songs and prayers, everything!! It was awesome.

The most special part was when we were invited to a ¨cell group¨the night before we left and they all sang to us and prayed for us.. It was so emotional!! But very very special.

We met such increadible people and were super sad to be leaving Vitoria, but our flight to Peru was booked and so we closed the Brazilian chapter of the tour and climbed onto the bus.

* The picture is Naiara (whose grannys house we went to), me in the middle and Ileia on the right. This was at Guarapari where it was a public holiday and locals were decorating the streets making motifs out of sand!!

Posted by doubledrtw 14:07 Archived in Brazil Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Ilha Grande

Brazil Continued

rain 24 °C
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There have been a few occasions on tour so far when music has lifted the mood with an uncannily relevant song popping up just at the right moment...

No more was this the case than on our ferry trip across to Ilha Grande.

Just hours after our near gun point robbery at our hostel in Rio, we had made our way through the mad rush of Rios bustling streets and had managed to get on a bus headed for Angro Dos Reis.

We were now sitting aboard a modest fishing boat in another world. The calm waters either side of us, the sun setting over the rickety old port town of Angro Dos Reis behind us, the imposing shadow of Ilha Grande on the horizon in front of us and blaring over the speakers on board Bob Marley ¨Dont worry about a thing ... cause every little thing is gonna be alright¨
My how life can change in the space of a few hours!!!

Truly relaxed or should I say chilled to da core maahn, we arrived at Ilha Grande under the cover of darkness and booked into our hostel excited for the next few days.

Unfortunately for the first time on tour, weather decided to play its ugly hand and we woke up to rain. Not to be set back by this, we ventured into the surrounding hillside on a trail headed up and over the mountain behind us to the surfing beaches on the other side. Regardless of the fact that the mountain was covered in a shroud of mist.

We only managed half an hour up the mountain before the rain really turned torrential and soaked to the bone we turned back, and scurried back to the safety of our room, looking like drowned rats.

Rain persisted for the next few days, and being a small island with no vehicles or roads, a few restaurants and very over priced internet, there wasnt too much to do.

When the rain finally lifted. We very excitedly signed up to a boat trip around part of the island. Although a little bit cold, we managed to get in a bit of snorkeling and explored some of the remoter parts of the island which (as you can see in the pic) included a little school which the kids get to by boat every day.

We would have loved to have stayed as the island had loads more to explore, but the rest of Brazil beckoned.

Posted by doubledrtw 13:51 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Rio (Hio) De Janeiro

Laughing in the face of danger

sunny 26 °C
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We were told by one of Jax´s friends that when you drive into Rio de Janeiro you will be totally gobsmacked by the amazing views and beautiful surroundings.

I was gobsmacked yes. Drew told me to close my snoring gob, stop drooling, and buck up because we had missed the grand entrance into Rio that we had been promised. And then said.. no you do not look like an angel when you sleep.

We clambered onto the first bus in Rio that said Copacabana. What they dont tell you is that every bus is like an obstacle course. You have 15 seconds to get on the bus, pass the turnstiles, shot put your backpack over the turnstile, pay your fair and find a seat before the bus takes off and sends you flying.

D&D 0 - Bus 1

Although we missed our first sighting and views of the city, we made up for it, and spent the next few days exploring all viewpoints, hiking up sugarloaf mountain, walking along the Copacabana beach and not to forget training up Corcovado to view the city and take our shots of the infamous Christ the Redeemer.

But as with most trips the most rewarding parts are those that not all the tourists do. We caught a rickety train into one of the suburbs called Santa Tereza. The train is really old fashioned and only goes about 20 kph. But whats great is that the Brazilians throw health and safety to the wind.

The trick with the train, is that you have to jump on and off while it is still moving. The locals run, grab on to the railing, pole vault on to the train, then lean back holding on to the railing and high five all their chommies cheering along the side of the railway.

Rio seems to dance to the beat of its own drum. Thanks to Annes mum we managed to link up with a friend of a friend, Ilce who showed us around Rio and tried to explain the ¨Brazilian Way¨.

¨In Brazil, a red light is only a suggestion¨ was one of her chirps.

¨Do not eat food from the local street vendors¨ was another suggestion - too late for that one...

¨Rio is a dangerous city¨ - pff, Drew and I laugh in the face of danger we are from South Africa.

Do they do smash and grabs here?? We asked.. No. Well then I guess we are safe.

After a night out at the local Samba club, we went to draw money.
We came back to find that our hostel, 30 minutes earlier had had an armed robbery.

We had missed it by moments. We swallowed our bravado, saddled up our backpacs and skulked out of Rio to our next destination. Not so cock sure of ourselves after all.

Posted by doubledrtw 06:55 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Priceless

Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil

sunny 22 °C
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This part of the trip has certainly been the highlight so far.

We ended up on a tour of the Iguazu falls on the Brazlian side with 3 local Brazilians, one of which was dressed in his suit pant and flashy leather shoes, obviously didnt read the fineprint describing the hiking, kayaking and cycling aspects of the tour.

The area has experienced soo much rainfall in the past few weeks that it was pretty much in flood - this meant in parts on our ¨hike/biking¨we had to get into kayaks and paddle along the pathways. The highlight was when the 1 brazilian chap dressed in his best decided it wasnt too deep and started wading through the water shouting at us in Portuguese expletives to follow him. After seeing him waist deep we opted for the kayak instead!

It was quite an ünplanned adventure¨shall we say and by the time we finished in the surrounding forrests we were quite psyched for the falls... and they didn`t let us down.

Being pretty much in flood - they were absolutely awe inspiring... Our photos do not do the falls any justice - the power of the water raging around us, the deafening roar, the thick spray drenching us and causing rainbows all around us - it was all quite amazing. We snapped up soo many photos as at every turn there was another amazing view of the falls and the size and immensity of them. Apparently (from those that have been!) Niagra is a piss in the park in comparison - to put it bluntly!

Our last experience was getting into a boat and roaring right up to the falls ramping over the rapids, feeling like we were about to capsize at any moment, and actually being dunked under some of the falls. It was a soaking, freezing and yet highly energising experience.

Posted by doubledrtw 16:53 Archived in Argentina Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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